Category Archives: Australia

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Aussie Govt Considers Blockchain for Services, Welfare Payments

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked the country’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) to research blockchain, and how it could be used to improve government services, including welfare payments.

The Australian government has granted the agency a budget of AUD 700,000 (USD 530,000) in order to carry out an investigation into DLT, according to ITNews.

“The Prime Minister, in fact, wrote to our minister and asked us to have a look at blockchain, which evolved into this particular piece of work,” DTA chief digital officer Peter Alexander said.

The move is not entirely surprising given recent interest among financial instructions in the country, most significantly, the Australian Securities Exchange’s (ASX) recent plans to replace its current clearing and settlement system with a DLT model within the next two years.

“ASIC (the Australian Securities and Investments Commission) [was] looking at blockchain, immigration – now home affairs – was looking at blockchain and considering it, and more agencies were talking about it,” Alexander said, adding, “Lots of vendors were coming to government and talking about blockchain.”

The move is one of many focused on how the government can best leverage blockchain’s advantages, including another DTA announcement this week that the agency plans to look into how the technology can be used for making social security welfare payments to citizens.

The new plan is focused on payments by Centrelink, reports CCN. The DTA feels that there are significant advantages of delivering social security welfare to citizens over a blockchain. Centrelink, part of the Department of Health Services (DHS), is responsible for a range of payments, particularly those relating to unemployment, pensions, and health. DTA Chief executive Randall Brugeaud stated:

“Our plan is to look for use cases across the Commonwealth with an initial focus on the welfare payment delivery system, then working with our digital service standard, we’ll conduct user research a view of having a prototype by the end of the next financial years.”

Brugeaud added that the potential of blockchain to securely record transactions would be investigated, drawing on the experience of other public and private sector organizations.

As blockchain is increasingly being developed and employed in new sectors across the country, cryptocurrency is also increasing in popularity. While Australia may not be the largest market for Bitcoin and other digital currencies, it is one that is quickly growing. It is currently ranked the 13th in the world for Bitcoin trading volume.


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 2017 Bad Year for Aussie Crypto Scams as US Launches ‘Cryptosweep’

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced on Monday that consumers lost more than USD 2.1 million to cryptocurrency scams last year, CoinDesk reported.

Of this figure, the ACCC reported, consumers lost approximately USD 100,000 per month between January and September of 2017. These losses increased in December to USD 200,000 when Bitcoin price rose to nearly USD 20,000, recording losses of more than USD 700,000. The commission noted that these figures showed a correlation between the number of scams and the price of Bitcoin.

The common cause of consumer losses was due to scams involving fake ICOs, cryptocurrency pyramid schemes, and ransomware payments.

Although the figure is high, it was noted that scams overall last year Australians lost more than USD 340 million, with USD 64 million being lost to investment scams specifically last year.

Cryptocurrency fraud is by no means limited to Australia, with fraud occurring in all countries which have a crypto market. In North America, seven scams and hacks last year netted around USD 490 million of consumer funds for the criminals. The Wall Street Journal has reported that of the 1,450 ICOs it reviewed, 271 had “red flags that include plagiarized investor documents, promises of guaranteed returns and missing or fake executive teams”.

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) has launched its own task force to attempt to clean up the crypto space in the US and Canada, primarily by conducted thorough investigations of ICOs and cryptocurrency related products, according to CoinDesk.

The investigation, labeled ‘Operation Cryptoweep’ according to statements, has involved to date “nearly 70 inquiries and investigations and 35 pending or completed enforcement actions since the beginning of the month”.

The Texas State Securities Board (TSSB) conducted its own survey on cryptocurrency crime recently in an investigation involving 32 cryptocurrency investment plans over four weeks.  The report indicated that almost two-thirds of these promoters did not give investors a physical address and that five out of the 32 promoters did not disclose any investment risks, as well as the risk of cybersecurity threats and hacks, and instead simply promised gains of up to 40% every month.

Joseph Rotunda, the TSSB’s Enforcement Division director, commented that “the market for cryptocurrency investments is saturated with widespread fraud, and our work is only revealing the tip of the iceberg”.


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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 11th to 17th May 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.


Regulator shows sharp increase in crypto-related inquiries in Q1 2018: Japan’s top financial authority Financial Services Agency (FSA) has disclosed latest numbers on cryptocurrency trading in the country. According to the figures, 3,559 inquiries were faced by the agency during the first quarter of 2018 alone.

The number is three times more than the first quarter of 2017 with a total of 1,141 inquiries back then. These numbers show an increased interest in the Japanese people regarding cryptocurrencies.

Blockchain-based tuna fish film shows tech potential: Ethereum Startup Consensys is showcasing a documentary that shows the potential of blockchain technology in supply chain tracking.

The reel titled “Bait to Plate” was produced by Viant, Ethereum-based supply chain management startup and shows the journey of a huge yellow fish tuna caught off the waters of Fiji in Japan. The film showed the journey of the fish from the start to finish including packaging and then shipping and then finally ending up in the plate of a few lucky attendees at the conference in which the documentary premiered.

World’s fifth largest bank to trial digital currency: Japan’s largest and world’s fifth largest bank Mitsubishi UFC Financial Group (MUFG) in terms of assets has announced that it will trial its own cryptocurrency in 2019.

The move was anticipated as early as 2016 and will see the Japanese banking giant releasing the coin valued at one Japanese yen (JPY) equivalent to 100,000 account holders in the bank, according to news by Japanese broadcaster NHK.

MUFG is checking to see the viability of the test run and will even broaden the plot by offering the new cryptocurrency to a variety of businesses to test its effectiveness. Japanese corporations are warming up towards blockchain and cryptocurrencies and have signed lucrative deals to get into the space.

South Korea

Government’s focus on positive aspects of cryptocurrency: The South Korean government is finally relaxing its approach towards cryptocurrencies after months of cracking down and strong-handed measures. The South Korean Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) will now classify cryptocurrencies as “financial assets” now and will soften its approach further.

The move comes after a unified G20 stance on cryptocurrencies. The FSS stated earlier:

“It’s almost certain that cryptocurrencies will be classified as assets and the main issue will be centered on how to regulate them properly under the unified frame that will be agreed upon between G20 nations. Given the current stance [in Korea], this isn’t good, but we will step up efforts to improve things.”

Largest cryptocurrency exchange cleared in audit: In a symbolic victory for the cryptocurrency scene, the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Upbit was cleared in a government audit thus allowing it to continue its operations. The currency market came under pressure recently after police raided Upbit offices on suspicion of fraud. The Financial Services Commission and Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) allowed the government to take control and audit the exchange.

Upbit feels vindicated by this move and its president Lee Seok-woo said:

“In early March, when Upbit was suspected of only book transactions without coins… I have been notified that the amount of coins is 100% identical to the number of coins in the wallets.”

Chinese Tapei (Taiwan)

Taiwan bank sets pace in blockchain payments: Fubon Commercial is close to becoming one of the first banks in the country to introduce a blockchain payment system.

The first test run will see the restaurants and merchants in the National Chengchi University use the payment service with shorter transaction times and improved bookkeeping.

Each transaction is encrypted and stored in the Ethereum blockchain. Following this move, transactions have quadrupled in just two weeks since the launch.


Conglomerate attacked in largest crypto-jacking episode in country: Third largest Indian conglomerate Aditya Birla Group was targeted in the first episode of crypto jacking in the country according to latest reports by Economic Times.

Hackers broke into a network of 2,000 computers that belong to different companies operating under the Birla group umbrella and used their terminals and computing power to mine cryptocurrencies. The attack was first detected last month according to Economic Times but within a few days, the malware spread to other areas including manufacturing and additional services that are part of the huge corporate empire.

The attack isn’t widely seen as to steal information or cryptocurrency but to mine them, according to a person familiar with the attack who spoke with the Economic Times. A spokesperson for the group said that countermeasures had been deployed and that an internal investigation was being carried out.


Budget makes room for blockchain: The Australian government is warming up to blockchain as the Department for Home Affairs (DHA) has proposed a framework to introduce decentralized ledger technology to help improve the country’s international trade and supply chain management.

A spokesperson of the department said:

“Intelligence and risk assessment capabilities and revenue collection are improved by new and emerging technologies, such as blockchain, that would improve the veracity, validation, and analysis of intelligence and trade data.”

In addition to DHA, the Australian stock exchange ASX has also outlined plans to use a DLT system in the near future.


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Australia Streamlines Trade as Budget Makes Room for Blockchain

Australia’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has proposed a framework to introduce DLT into the country’s international trade and supply chain management, Coindesk has reported. The proposal arrived soon after the national government dedicated USD 700,000 of its 2018-19 budget “for the Digital Transformation Agency to investigate areas where blockchain technology could offer the most value for Government services…”.

The DHA has plans to modernize international trade management in the country and is hoping that emerging technologies will be key to supporting the process. The department has stated that an increase in trade would require new measures for fast-tracking and simplifying current documentation processes. The DHA expects to see a 28% increase in air cargo and a 13% increase in sea cargo imports to Australia over the next four years.

As part of the DHA’s update and modernization process, the department is seeking to establish blockchain, AI, and the internet of things throughout government trade management departments, in order to provide real-time intelligence for Australia’s supply chain.

A spokesperson from the department was cited as saying:

“Intelligence and risk assessment capabilities and revenue collection are improved by new and emerging technologies, such as blockchain, that would improve the veracity, validation, and analysis of intelligence and trade data.”

Australia’s changes to the way the DHA conducts trade business is seen by the department as a way of offering better safety standards and security, as well as increased efficiency, particularly in border inspection procedures. A statement at the submission said that a secure and modern end-to-end supply chain was fundamental to the country’s security, growth, and prosperity.

Trade management is not the only area which has seen an interest in blockchain solutions in Australia recently. The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has outlined plans to replace its current clearing and settlement system with a DLT model within the next two years.


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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 4th to 10th May 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.


Government levies taxes on crypto despite opposition: Thailand is the latest country to levy taxes on cryptocurrencies despite opposition at home. Thai blockchain associations were against the aggressive tax policy and the move follows the regional trend of crypto taxes after Australia and other nations levied taxes on crypto gains.

The ministry of finance had already released plans to introduce taxes for cryptocurrency trading and investment.  Thai digital currency associations voiced their concerns regarding the move and the minister responded but the move eventually took place.

The proposed 15% tax is considered stifling for the growth of cryptocurrencies and blockchain space. In addition to this basic levy, a 7% value-added tax is also levied on all cryptocurrency trades. The legislation is still in its infancy and the government has no infrastructure in place to audit the crypto taxes.

Stock exchange launches crowdfunding blockchain: The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has announced the launch of a decentralized crowdfunding platform based on blockchain to facilitate small businesses and enterprises in the country.

The platform is named LiVE and has plans to provide a complete startup ecosystem which will also provide the necessary education for new businesses to get easier access to institutional investors as well. More than 50 companies are targeted to join the program.


Police announce blockchain-based evidence storage: The Chinese ministry of public security has announced the development of a blockchain application that stores evidence from police investigations safely and securely for long-term. The tech was patented at China’s Intellectual property office back in November 2017 and it automatically takes police data and stores it in cloud storage.

This will help solve the problem of falsified records and fake evidence, according to Chinese authorities since blockchain technology can help data become tamper-proof. Criminals will no longer be able to easily hack into the government databases and wipe out the records.

600 Bitcoin mining rigs believed to be from Iceland seized in China: Police in the city of Tianjin, China have seized a record 600 Bitcoin mining rigs in a raid, which is the same number of machines that were reportedly stolen in Iceland heists back in December and January.

The mining operation had caused a short circuit due to stealing power from the national grid after authorities found out that there was a sudden 28% increase in power consumption on one line alone.


Crypto exchanges challenge banking restrictions in top court: Indian cryptocurrency exchanges have challenged the central bank’s decision to stop facilitating the transactions of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

This is the third challenge to cryptocurrencies in the market and the most severe as all banking services have been blocked off to the crypto exchanges and they include big local names like Coindelta exchange, Koinex exchange, Throughbit Exchange and CoinDCX.

The petitions will likely be heard in India’s top court on 11 May 2018.


Binance CEO sees ICOs as future of VC: The CEO of popular cryptocurrency trading platform Binance has stated that he believes initial coin offerings (ICOs) are the future of venture capital investments. Changpen Zhao, the CEO believes that the digital crowdfunding method is not just a “good-to-have” option but a genuine future for the system.

Binance is currently based in Taiwan after previous operations in China and Japan.

South Korea

Regulators positive about crypto: The new head of the Korean State’s financial watchdog Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) Yoon Suk-heun has made some encouraging comments regarding the future legislation around cryptocurrencies.

He at least admitted that cryptocurrencies have “some positive aspects” and could have a part in the future. This seems that the confrontational situation has so far dialed down below the 38th parallel since last September’s ban when regulators had “serious doubts” about cryptocurrencies.

The top regulator also said, “there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed and reviewed. We can figure them out but gradually.”


FSA crackdown on anonymous exchanges and crypto businesses on the cards: Japan continues its love-hate relationship with cryptocurrencies with the Financial Security Agency (FSA) mulling actions against anonymous cryptocurrency exchanges and startups in the country.

It is also trying to see the exchanges delist currencies like ZCash, Monero and Dash, something that goes far beyond the normal crypto regulations that we have gotten used to in the Land of the Rising Sun.


Private and public sectors encouraged to apply blockchain technology: The South East Asian country is encouraging both the private and public sectors to invest in blockchain technology to solve complex problems that are plaguing the country including storage and application of data according to latest reports from Reuters.

The country is a challenge to administer as 250 million inhabitants are spread over a total of 17,000 islands. The Financial Services Authority has assembled a team and they are investigating the applications of the technology for the future.


Physical Bitcoin smart banknotes launched: Singaporean Bitcoin startup Tangem has announced a physical Bitcoin banknote at a popular shopping center in the island state. The banknotes are available in denominations starting from BTC 0.01 btc onwards. Each note has a chip that cost the company USD 2 to make and it stores the private keys.

It is the first hardware solution in the form of banknotes with certification for its entire hardware and electronics according to EAL6+ and EMVCo standards. The company is committed to “radically improve the simplicity and security of acquiring, owning, and circulating cryptocurrencies for both sophisticated and incoming users”.

Tangem has a presence in South Korea and Southern China, Taiwan, Russia, and Israel.


Government earmarks $700 million for blockchain research: The Australian budget has recently unveiled an allocation of USD 700,000 for the blockchain Space to “to investigate areas where blockchain technology could offer the most value for government service”.


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Indonesia Gets Data Savvy with Blockchain Plans

South East Asia‘s largest economy, Indonesia, is seeing both public and private sectors investing in applying blockchain technology to address issues surrounding the storage and application of data within the country in a number of sectors, reports Reuters.

The problems have arisen due to the sheer volume of data, which is now generated by a population of 250 million inhabitants across a huge total of 17, 000 islands. The Indonesian Financial Services Authority has now gathered a team to investigate how blockchain can support the country’s industries.

Tech firm Online Pajak has launched a solution via a blockchain-driven app to assist in simplifying the country’s tax sector. The app allows customers to share encrypted data with the tax and treasury office as well as banks. Company founder, Charles Guinot, points out that the app will not only reduce paperwork and errors but fill current gaps in the current system.

He suggests: “Today in Indonesia, there’s no proof you’ve paid.” The new system will ensure an accurate and clear record of payment for private individuals and companies alike.

Elections is another area being looked at, having been a problem within the country in the past due to fraud and polls not being able to reach a population that is widely dispersed across Indonesia’s many islands. An Australian firm, Horizon State, has found a solution to some of these problems with a new app concept due to launch later this year, enabling direct polling on local policy issues.

Banks are looking at DLT with more interest, as discovered by a survey published last year indicating that about 80% of financial institution executives see blockchain impacting future markets. Rico Ustahavia Frans, director of digital banking and technology at Bank Mandiri, Indonesia’s second-biggest bank by assets, said it was currently looking at applying blockchain, once regulators had formulated guidelines for banking and financial institutions.

The Indonesian government reports that is now looking into how it can disperse funds to numerous recipients in the farming sector using the new technology.


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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 27th April to 3rd May 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

The Korean Peninsula

Korea peace treaty inscribed in blockchain: The historic Korea peace declaration by North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in on 27 April 2018 was immutably recorded on the Ethereum blockchain. The move was done by Ryi Gi-Hyeok, a prominent South Korean game developer, after the two leaders met at the demilitarized zone on the border.

Rye coded the two Ether transactions, including the Panmunjom Declaration, one in English and the other in Korean. He explained:

“I just thought it took too long for the South and the North to give way to each other… After finding out what I could contribute to this historic achievement as a developer, I found the Panmunjom Declaration on the Blue House homepage and recorded it on Ethereum.”

He has further plans to launch a website to keep all important historic records in permanent, immutable storage on Ethereum.

Samsung posts record-breaking quarter thanks to crypto mining surge: South Korean tech giant Samsung’s investment into ASIC chips for Bitcoin mining seems to have paid off as the company posted a record operating income for the first quarter of 2018 and a profit of $14.5 billion.

Vice president, investor relations, Robert Yi was of the opinion:

“In the semiconductor business, earnings increased significantly year-over-year thanks to favorable memory market conditions driven by a strong demand for server and graphics memory as well as earnings improvements in both System LSI and foundry businesses led by increasing demand for chips used in flagship smartphones and cryptocurrency mining”.

Bank of Korea considering blockchain as part of cashless society concept: The South Korean cryptocurrency scene is exploding after Samsung announced record profits from ASIC chips sales and now the Bank of Korea is considering cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology as part of its “cashless society concept”.

The bank has announced the official launch of its cashless society project on its 2017 Payment Report, according to a post from TokenPost on 1 May 2018.


Crypto enquiries tripled in 2017: The Japanese Financial Security Agency (FSA) has released figures of cryptocurrency enquiries and they have gone up by more than three times since the same time last year. Over 3.5 million people have been trading in cryptocurrencies in Japan and the new figures confirm the massive spike in public interest in cryptocurrencies since the course of last year.

What is interesting is that most of the enquiries were from the 40s and 50s age groups and were regarding the legitimacy of ICOs and the security of the exchange platforms. It seems the older Japanese generation is also getting into cryptocurrencies.


Binance more profitable than Deutsche Bank: Binance, one of the biggest exchanges in the world, has outperformed the mighty Deutsche Bank in terms of profitability, according to latest figures from both of these organizations. Binance posted a profit of USD 200 million between January and March, while Deutsche Bank only recorded net gains of USD 146 million, significantly under a targeted USD 456 million amount.

Binance was originally founded in China but since then moved to Japan before eventually settling in Republic of China (Taiwan).


Singapore fast tracks patents and crypto ride-hailing: The Singapore government has just announced its Fast Track Fintech initiative that is aimed at accelerating the patent approval process for fintech areas including cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based payments.

The development was announced by Low Ling, the senior parliamentary secretary for ministry of trade and industry. His office said:

“The incorporation of blockchain technology to improve the security and efficiency of clearing and settlement across borders for transaction and payment is deemed as a Fintech invention.”

Hong Kong

Government finds crypto not implicated in financial crime increase: The Hong Kong government’s investigation into criminal activity has revealed that criminals are still more likely to use conventional methods of money transfer rather than cryptocurrencies to move black money from one place to another.

Normally, cryptocurrencies are blamed for most of the money laundering efforts in criminal circles but this investigation proves that conventional systems are more likely to be used in this space than cryptocurrencies.


UNICEF announces mining project to help fund education: UNICEF Australia has announced a cryptocurrency mining initiative in which computing resources from donors will be used to mine cryptocurrency which in turn will be used to raise fiat money to invest in education.

The project is called the Hope Page and will be used to mine the cryptocurrency Monero using donors’ computer processing power that can be anything from powerful ASIC miners to a regular PC with GPU.

UNICEF launched a similar project back in February to help the Syrian civil war crisis.

Stock exchange okays plan for blockchain: The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has announced plans to replace its old clearance and settlement system with a blockchain-based alternative as early as 2020.

The idea had been in the pipeline for some time since 2015 but the decision arrived back in December last year when the stock exchange announced plans to become the world’s first stock exchange to employ blockchain technology.

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“Hope” for Children in Need with New Aussie UNICEF Mining Donations

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced a program which has been designed to use donors’ computers to raise fiat currency through cryptocurrency mining.

The website, the nucleus of the new project, is called “The Hope Page“, and is able to mine the cryptocurrency Monero using donors’ computer processing power through Coinhive, a crypto-mining service. This is the second time that UNICEF has used cryptocurrency to fund its overseas projects. In February, it launched a similar program to support children in Syria, affected by the lengthy civil war in that country, using donors’ computers to mine Ether.

The donated funds will go to the UNICEF Australia‘s current mission in Bangladesh established due to the Rohingya crisis, providing humanitarian relief for both children and their mothers and ensuring that they receive life-saving supplies such as safe drinking water, food, and vaccines. Some families, having escaped the military-led violence in neighboring Myanmar, are now living in refugee camps in Bangladesh awaiting placement.

UNICEF’s director of fundraising and communications Jennifer Tierney explained, “We wanted to leverage new emerging technologies to raise awareness about current humanitarian crises and raise new funds to support children caught up in them.”

She suggests that donating is simply as easy as opening a page. The Hope Page instructions clarify this for donors:

“The longer you stay on the page and the more processor power you donate, the more algorithms get solved, which earns cryptocurrency.”

However, visitors to the page are warned that cryptocurrency mining may incur further costs apart from the added domestic energy consumption.  Donating may lead to higher energy bills and visitors to the site are informed that they have the option to donate cash or make credit card donations prior to authorizing mining.

At press time, over 3,600 people were donating to the programme using the cryptocurrency mining process.

image source: – geralt


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Darwin’s First Crypto Cafe Joins Aussie Fintech Movers and Shakers

Darwin Cafe ‘Thrive’ is the first crypto cafe to operate in Australia’s Northern Territories State capital offering electronic payment in four cryptocurrencies.

Joint owners Kerry and sister-in-law Natalie decided to offer the service as part of a plan to attract Australian and overseas visitors to the Northern Territories. Kerry commented, “Why not jump on board, it’s quick and easy and we’re learning more every day.”

The owners remarked that customers initially responded with surprise at the new service but later showed interest in how cryptocurrency would work in the cafe scenario. Customers can currently pay in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin or Dash cryptocurrencies, with a cup of coffee priced at AUD 5 selling at BTC 0.00052 when interviewed by ABC Australia.

The cafe’s crypto payment program is facilitated by TravelbBit, a Queensland-based company which offers travel and payment facilities in cryptocurrency to vendors and customers. The company designs tourist routes within Australia and offers selected providers with their own TravebyBit digital currency payment platform. The company allows customers to pay in a digital currency of their choice.

Thrive in Darwin is one of many cafes around Australia to have adopted digital currency. New South Wales-based Pablo and Rusty’s Coffee Roasters also accept digital currency at its Brisbane location. The cafe chain, which is known for its scientific approach to coffee, producing the first disposable cup made entirely from coffee waste, launched Australia’s first cashless cafe in 2016. They commented that they were always on the lookout for ways of incorporating technology into their business.

Now, customers will be able to walk into the Brisbane store, order their items, and pay with a few taps on their phone – “precisely what cryptocurrency was originally intended for”.

Australia, the self-named “Lucky Country”, has adopted digital currencies with more enthusiasm than many around the world and looks to facilitate its use in a diverse range of areas on the continent.

Its attempts to regulate the cryptocurrency industry have so far been successful in its endeavors to protect citizens and the financial sector, while developing and incorporating the technology into the infrastructure of the country.


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Australia Proving to Be a Positive Home for Cryptocurrency

As the popularity of cryptocurrency increases, Australia has set a positive example in terms of implementing sustainable, non-restrictive regulations.

Last week saw the Australian Transactions Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC) implement viable new rules regarding cryptocurrency exchanges. The most significant legislation enacted was the requirement of digital currency exchanges to register with AUSTRAC and comply with the government’s anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing obligations.

Regulations and licensing

Three exchanges have already been granted a license to operate in Australia: BTC Markets, Independent Reserve, and Blockbid. The remaining trading platforms have until 14 May to comply with AUSTRAC’s regulations.

AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose commented that as well as challenging the ramifications of decentralized trading such as money laundering, the new rules would also ”help strengthen public and consumer confidence in the sector”.

The government has also stated that initial coin offerings (ICOs) would be treated depending on the usage of the token, be it security- or utility-based. If the ICO was considered by law to not be offering financial products, it would be regulated under Australia’s Corporations Act.

The Australian Tax Office has also introduced 100-point identification checks to track cryptocurrency investors, who are required to pay tax on their earnings.

Blockchain Silicon Valley

Meanwhile, Australian technology firm IOT Group have partnered with Hunter Energy in recommissioning a disused power station in the hopes of becoming the country’s first pre-grid, cost-effective power alternative for blockchain operators.

The project is being dubbed the ”new Silicon Valley”, with the site planned to offer space to host data centers with direct access to power. This will bypass the energy grid, allowing clients to purchase wholesale electricity tariffs directly from the power station.

While Australia may not be the largest market for Bitcoin and other digital currencies, it is one that is quickly growing. It is currently ranked the 13th in the world for Bitcoin trading volume by currency, with the AUD seeing around BTC 276 trading via the AUD in a 24-hour period. Comparatively, it is not uncommon for Japan to process BTC 301,404 in the same period.

Australia’s attempts to regulate the cryptocurrency industry has so far been successful in its endeavors to both protect citizens and the financial sector, while developing and incorporating the technology within the infrastructure of the country.

Its progressive legislation has the opportunity to economically benefit the country, as well as the cryptocurrency market in general. With mainstream adoption increasing, governments must look for ways to incorporate the decentralized system within the legal framework of countries.

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